Code Romantic, a visual novel about love and programming

If you like the sound of a visual novel with both computer science puzzle and romance elements then Code Romantic is for you. So far, creator Pretty Smart Games has released two of the game’s chapters, with more to come a little further down the line. Unlike Zachtronics-style programming games—where players learn fictional systems—Code Romantic is teaching players using C#, a coding language folks use a whole bunch. A game like Zachtronics’s Shenzhen I/O teaches more logic-based theories, while Code Romantic is starting more traditionally with the basics of code semantics. No prior programming experience is necessary, as the game starts off with very simple commands—stuff you’d learn in an intro…

Kindred Spirits on the Roof

The future of romance games is queer

Human culture exists because of sexual intercourse. From the reign of Cleopatra, to the formation of the Church of England, to the Stonewall riots, human experiences of love and sex make up the fabric of our history. Even if we try to narrow our gaze to media, the bright red handprint of sex is everywhere in the history of almost all mediums. There are cave paintings depicting sexual intercourse, and ancient sculpture frequently represented people with massive pendulous breasts and club-like penises. Some of the first handmade and distributed mini-comics (known as Tijuana Bibles) were porn-parodying popular media. The romance…

Alone With You

Alone With You brings inclusive romance to the dead of space

Alone With You is an adventure game that focuses on relationships—particularly, relationships with four fellow colonists. (Four fellow colonists who are actually dead, and appearing as holograms.) As the last member of an ill-fated space colony, the player is desperately trying to escape the planet. But the player can’t do that without getting to know the folks around them. Relating to the four main characters—Winnie, Jean, Leslie, and Pierre—is just as important as exploring through the game’s 12 missions, and ultimately, escaping the planet. Each character has their own arc, as does the “troubled” AI companion and the player. And…

in the park

A bunch of games just arrived to provide a wider representation of love

The second installment of the International Love Ultimatum game jam (iluJam) has ended, gracing us with a variety of games about love in many shapes and sizes. This year saw a slightly bigger turn out with six more entries than the inaugural jam last year. Although the number of entries may be small, many of them have a big heart. Amanda Cosmos, the organizer of iluJam, was originally inspired by the Pulse-Pounding, Heart-Stopping Dating Sim Jam (PPHSDSJ). She wanted to participate, but when no follow-up event happened, she got the organizer’s blessing to put on a similar game jam herself. While…

lobster 3

The Lobster, a warped fairy tale about our dating obsession

To state a fact in ordinary language is to permit a doubt concerning the statement. – R.F. “Tody” Hamilton (press agent, Barnum & Bailey) There is a sequence towards the end of The Lobster in which two characters, initially drawn together by the same physical defect, are trying to find new shared ground. One of them has recently lost the condition that has made them seem compatible, and her partner attempts, through trial and error, to figure out what else they might have in common: Can she play the piano? Speak German? Does she like berries? As their incompatibilities accumulate,…


Gaze upon the kinky, deformed face of Craigslist casual encounters

Finding yourself in the Craigslist casual encounters personal ads feels like accidentally stepping into a new world you never knew existed. It has its own language (i.e. I’m a DDF w4m who’s down to be FWB, is HWP, and into sub/dom). It has its own societal norms and code of conduct (discreteness and height/weight proportionality are key to be being a productive Craigslist casual encounter citizen). Essentially, it’s like you accidentally got invited to that Eyes Wide Shut orgy, only instead of creepy masks, everyone’s face has been replaced by a dick pic. everyone’s face has been replaced by a…


Red Flags is a card game of perfect partners and terrible dates

You meet the person of your dreams. They have everything you want in a partner: a love for dogs, the ability to write poetry that is not in any way embarrassing, unrivalled loyalty, and a yacht. There’s just one catch. This potential match calls you by their ex’s name. And this isn’t an isolated incident. Your potential match is only capable of referring to you by your ex’s name. What do you do? Do you write this off as a foible—nobody’s perfect, after all? Or do you cut your losses and choose another suitor? These romantic choices and tradeoffs are…